10 Kitchen hygiene facts that will make you sick

10 Kitchen hygiene facts that will make you sick

How clean is your kitchen? Check out these tips.

Hygiene is not only one of the most important elements of your kitchen, but it is also one of the most understated areas of hospitality management and chef training.

Ironically, it tops the list as being one of the most important elements.

We spoke to Ronel Bezuidenhout, managing director of Capital Hotel School and Alicia Giliomee, head of department, to find out what their top 10 hygiene facts are.

Trust us when we say that they’re enough to leave you flabbergasted!

Here are the myths and facts when it comes to kitchen hygiene.


– You only get food poisoning from food in dodgy and dirty kitchens.

– Salmonella comes from raw meat.

– Rice is “safe” when cooked.

– Wiping a cutting board will suffice to clean it.

– Food poisoning is caused by one type of bacteria.

– It doesn’t matter what temperature you store food at in the fridge.

– There’s no such thing as chemical food poisoning.

– Pests live in the kitchen, not in food.

– Cockroaches are only attracted to food in the kitchen.


– Risks of food poisoning might be less in a “clean” kitchen, but there is still a huge risk based on how kitchen utensils and work surfaces are cleaned, where the food comes from and how it’s stored.

– Although salmonella can be spread from raw meat, it has also been found in other foods. These foods include: poultry, eggs, unwashed vegetables or fruit, unpasteurized milk and other dairy products.

– According to an article in the UK Express newspaper, reheating rice can be more toxic than uncooked meat.

Uncooked rice can contain spores of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Even though rice might be cooked, spores can survive.

If the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will multiply and can produce poisons that can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.

“Ultimately, the longer cooked rice is left to stand at room temperature, the more likely it is that poisons produced could stop the rice from being safe to eat,” says the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

– Cutting boards are one of the biggest carriers of food-related illness.

Cutting boards need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each use. The remains of bacteria infected foods in the grooves made by chopping/slicing can infect other food types with the same bacteria.

According to an article by Huffington Post, there should be two types of boards in any kitchen:

1. A wooden board – to prep fresh fruits and vegetables which are very kind to knives. It should be regularly disinfected and oiled.

2. A plastic board – this can be used for raw proteins. It should be washed thoroughly too – preferably in a dishwasher.

– Fresh lemon or lemon juice, as suggested by Chef Alicia, can be used to clean surfaces because it has been proven to be an excellent natural disinfectant.

“Alternatively, bicarbonate of soda can be sprinkled over the surface and be left to stand for five minutes then washed off in clean, warm and soapy water,” says Chef Alicia.

– According to, chemicals can also be responsible for food poisoning.

Ingesting certain plants like poisonous mushrooms, potatoes that have gone green, the oleander bush or foodstuffs that have been excessively sprayed with insecticides can be the source of food poisoning in humans. Also, ingesting an animal that contains poison can also lead to food poisoning.

– Ensuring that food is correctly stored in the kitchen is equally as important as cooking the food correctly.

When you store food in the fridge, make sure that it is at room temperature or lower. Putting warm food in a fridge can cause food poisoning because the food won’t cool evenly.

The Hygiene Company also tells us that food should always be covered. Leaving it out in the open makes it vulnerable to flies and bacteria.

Rentokil has identified 39 different pests – specifically insects that are common in stored products. These pests are known as Stored Product Insects (SPI), and are found in South Africa alone.

– Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches are everywhere and will eat anything from food, paper, packaging, plastics and fabrics to animal matter.

According to Gil Silberman, wherever there’s food or food storage, there are cockroaches. The only challenge is keeping them under control.

– Although dirty kitchens will contribute to food-related illnesses; it’s the limited personal hygiene knowledge of the staff working in the kitchen that is the main challenge. Hygiene education and empowering staff with the skill to know how to ensure a kitchen remains in its optimally hygienic state, is what has become a fundamental part of cookery and chef training.

A step-by-step guide to washing your hands properly:

1. Palm to palm

2. Between fingers

3. Back of hands

4. Base of thumbs

5. Back of fingers

6. Fingernails

7. Wrists

8. Rinse and wipe dry



June Spoil 2018

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